RIPLEY - Joan Virginia Dow Randall died at her home on the North Road in Ripley on December 9th. She is survived by four children, Wynona of Dexter, Mellen A III and wife Kathryn of Fairfield, Lenora of Ripley, and Daniel and wife Catherine of Houlton. She was blessed with three grandchildren: Jennifer Boothroyd, Aaron Boothroyd and wife Yayoi Kimura, all of Brewer, and Sam Boothroyd of Dexter. She also had the pleasure of welcoming great grandchildren Estelle, James, Kairi, and Miri to her family. She has two surviving siblings, Rowena Walton and James Dow and wife Wilda, and two surviving sisters-in-law Betty Dow, and Judy Estey. Joan was predeceased by her husband Mell, mother and father, brothers and sisters Harold, Henrietta, David, Jean and John.\n\nJoan was born in Ft. Kent on April 12, 1930, the daughter of Harold M. and Annie (Connors) Dow. She was the third of their eight children. She grew up in a house on the banks of the Allagash River where her father patrolled as a Maine game warden. She attended Allagash elementary school. She attended Madawaska Training School (MTS) in Fort Kent to receive her teacher certification, and began teaching school in 1949 at the age of 19. Her family moved to Ripley in 1948 and bought the Old Randall Farm on the North Rd.\n\nJoan finished her teacher's certification, moved to Ripley and started teaching at the Jones School. She met Mell one day at the Ripley store - "tall and handsome - with a feather in his cap." She was married to Mellen A. Randall II in the Ripley Methodist church in Ripley Village, on June 16th, 1951.\n\nJoan moved many times with her husband. He was a game warden and she taught in different schools: Dexter, Calais, Turner, Exeter, and Garland. Joan was one of the first teachers in the state of Maine who was certified to teach special education. She received her Special Education degree from University of Maine at Farmington. Joan taught until 1986, when she retired.\n\nJoan was a natural teacher and leader, a great organizer. She loved to perform by singing and doing skits at church, reunions, the Grange and Eastern Star meetings, as well as talent shows. She taught both Sunday school and Bible school at the Ripley church.\n\nJoan and Mell started going to Florida for the winter in 1986. They went back almost every year for 25 years. They made great friends there and hosted many other family members. "Down there" they could truly retire and enjoy themselves. She loved her Dow Family, and truly enjoyed it when her mother and/or brothers and sisters, and nieces and nephews would come to visit - whether at home in Ripley, at their place in Chesterville, or at one of their homes in Florida, they always had a good time.\n\nShe had a special bond with her mother Annie Dow. With Annie, Joan and Mell ran the Allagash Inn, bed and breakfast for two summers. Joan and Annie also quilted together in the winters. They created many beautiful quilts for everyone to enjoy.\n\nJoan enjoyed nature and was passionate about learning all the names of the birds, flowers, trees, rocks and minerals that she saw nearby, and in turn would teach us to love to do that as well.\n\nJoan was a vibrant and vivacious woman. She was the spark in any room she was in; people were drawn to her beautiful smile and fun-loving ways. She was an accomplished, strong, independent woman, a great role model for the women she was surrounded by and raised.\n\n"Where flowers bloom, there is hope." - Lady Bird Johnson\n\nA celebration of life will be held in the spring. Joan chose The Ripley Historical Society, (c/o Linda Leavitt, 1025 Main St., Ripley, ME 04930) and the Ripley Community Club (c/o Leatrice Greaves, 44 Main St., Apt#1, Dexter, ME 04930) as organizations for those who wish to contribute in her memory. Arrangements are by Crosby & Neal.